4 February 2007 | Handlinghandel
A real charmer
Mitchell Leisen directed three wonderful movies, one very good one, may fine ones, and some that weren't successful. No matter what one thinks of the hauteur theory, he was a fine stylist and that's not a bad track record.
The three beauties include this one. Also there are "Midnight," one of the most glamorous and charming of all screwball comedies, and "Easy Living." That may have been Jean Arthur at her very best (and most lovable.) (The very good one, in my view, is "Death Takes A Holiday.") Thelma Ritter carries this one. So, as she might say with a flip of a dust rag, "what else is new?" Indeed, she is one of the treasures of American movie history.
Here she is the mother of John Lund, who is not very appealing. She's as blue collar as blue collar can be. Lund has fallen for and married Gene Tierney. Her mother is played very stylishly by Miriam Hopkins. Well, which one would you want as a mother? Or a mother-in-law? Thing is, Thelma is mistaken for a maid when she arrives the day of Lund and Tierney's wedding and carries on this charade for most of the movie. It's sad, really. That part is rarely played for laughs and it is indeed far more poignant than funny.
Larry Keating is good as Lund's ultimate boss. The actor playing his son is a cipher and looks almost Keating's age.
But this is Ritter's movie. Does she steal scenes? Not discernibly, though I've heard her accused of doing that in other films. She steals the picture. And our hearts.